The 10 Best Monopods

Updated January 19, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Monopods
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 38 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Perfect for stabilizing indoor and outdoor shots without having to carry around heavy tripods, these monopods set up in seconds and provide a stable base for videographers and photographers alike. We've ranked the best that the business has to offer by performance, durability, ease of use, and versatility. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best monopod on Amazon.

10. Dolica WT-1003 67-Inch

The Dolica WT-1003 67-Inch is built to professional standards, but doesn't cost an arm and a leg, making it perfect for those on a tight budget. It boasts solid functionality thanks to basic, but reliable, features, like a non-skid rubber foot and an NBR foam grip.
  • wrist strap is adjustable
  • grooved for structural stability
  • supports only 7 pounds or less
Brand Dolica
Model WT-1003
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Opteka CFM300

With five sections and multiple locking points, the Opteka CFM300 offers a lot of height adjustability. It is comprised of a combination of carbon fiber and magnesium, making it sturdy yet keeping it lightweight at the same time.
  • cameras attach directly on the head
  • dual mount screw for fast changes
  • difficult to tighten leg sections
Brand Opteka
Model OPTCFM300
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Dolica WT-1010 Ultra Premium

The Dolica WT-1010 Ultra Premium is a superbly well-built, smoothly operating model that handles equipment up to 20 lbs. with graceful ease. Its protective finish resists chipping and peeling to keep it looking new through the years.
  • cnc-machined components
  • short-throw legs for quick openings
  • a little heavy for its specs
Brand Dolica
Model WT-1010
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Amazon Basics Carbon Fiber HJ-C315M

The Amazon Basics Carbon Fiber HJ-C315M isn't built to last you for the remainder of your career as a photographer, but its 22 lb. capacity and maximum extension of 61 inches are impressive enough for it to warrant some serious attention.
  • comes with a wrench for adjustments
  • weighs only one pound
  • locks can feel very stiff
Brand AmazonBasics
Model HJ-C315M
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Manfrotto MM290A4US

The Manfrotto MM290A4US has a robust, four-section pole constructed from sturdy and lightweight black anodized aluminum. Its flip locks allow for a quick setup, so you never miss that perfect shot, even if you are unprepared.
  • gripping rubber leg warmer
  • collapses with incredible speed
  • short maximum height
Brand Manfrotto
Model MM290A4US
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Benro 3 Series

If you prefer the feel of aluminum to carbon fiber, the Benro 3 Series is among the best options on the market. Its most impressive feature may be its weight capacity, as this model can withstand loads reaching towards 40 pounds.
  • backed by a 3-year warranty
  • comes with a carrying case
  • a fairly long 21 inches when folded
Brand Benro
Model A38TD
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Manfrotto Xpro 5 Carbon Fiber

The Fluidtech base on the Manfrotto Xpro 5 Carbon Fiber allows you to dial in exceptionally smooth movements at the bottom of the unit, which means that you can achieve the kinds of pans and tilts previously only available with the aid of a video head.
  • durable option for travel
  • secure flip locks
  • not as tall as comparable models
Brand Manfrotto
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Benro 4 Series

The Benro 4 Series is available with either flip-locks or twist-locks, depending on which you prefer, and has a complete S6 video head, making it ideal for professional videographers who want to add smooth pans to their work.
  • articulating base
  • extends to just over 68 inches
  • fine resistance controls
Brand Benro
Model A48FDS6
Weight 7.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Neewer 5-Section Carbon Fiber

The Neewer 5-Section Carbon Fiber is a lightweight, durable, and inexpensive option for shooters on the go. It can extend from just over a foot-and-a-half to an impressive 64.2 inches, giving you a good range of positions to nab the perfect shot.
  • soft foam hand grip
  • 22-pound load capacity
  • locks are very secure
Brand Neewer
Model 10090650
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Sirui SUP204SR

The Sirui SUP204SR offers a wide range of features for taking photos or shooting videos. In adverse conditions, you can remove its rubber foot to reveal a metal spike that can take hold in a variety of surfaces to stabilize your shot and protect your gear.
  • can also be used as a tiny tripod
  • retracts and extends smoothly
  • tilts up to 20 degrees
Brand Sirui
Model P-204S
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Three Legs Aren't Always Better Than One

Mathematically speaking, I understand why the tripod gets so much of the glory. After all, the triangle is the stablest, strongest geometric shape out there. A tripod is a versatile, rugged piece of equipment that you can outfit with any number of heads to suit your shooting needs.

But so is the monopod. In fact, the monopod provides almost all the features and benefits of a tripod in a lighter, more mobile package. We're talking about only having to deal with one leg instead of three, after all.

Good monopods are made from aluminum or similar metals, with carbon fiber materials forming the most expensive models on the market. Those carbon fiber models are significantly lighter than their metallic counterparts, but they're are just as durable and can hold just as much weight, if not more.

At the top of your monopod is a 3/8" male thread mount, perfect for attaching a tripod head. If you want to attach your camera or your lens mount directly, that 3/8" thread should slide down to reveal a 1/4"-20 male mount that lives at the center of the 3/8" mount. The 3/8" threads are spring-loaded, so you can push them out of the way simply by screwing your 1/4"-20 female piece into place, and they'll jump right back into position when you remove the smaller hardware.

Your monopod is also going to be extendable, with one to three extension points which get thinner as you extend down the build. Even with your monopod at full extension, its simple construction will allow you to rapidly change positions while keeping the stability you need for longer, sharper images.

Locking Into Place

The eternal question facing potential buyers of monopods and tripods alike divides the multitudes into a pair of irreconcilable camps. That question: do you snap, or do you screw?

The legs of tripods and the single post of any monopod extend by releasing a series of thinner legs out toward the ground. Those release mechanisms are universally one of two types.

The original type, the kind you could see on tripods and monopods reaching back decades, is the screw type. The joints between monopod leg segments on this type release and extend only when you unscrew a simple, threaded tightening element, which locks your legs in the extended position when you tighten it once again. The great advantage of this type is its durability, but it makes for a longer process in the extension.

Also, it's harder to know for sure that you've effectively tightened a screwing monopod, and one experience in which you fail to properly secure a leg could cost you your camera equipment should the monopod collapse on itself. After an experience like that, you could find yourself paranoically over-tightening the joints to the point where you'd strip them, rendering your monopod more or less defunct.

The other type of monopod extension is the snap type, which operates its joints with locking, spring-loaded levers. These give you the great advantage of assurance, of the knowledge that your monopod is, indeed, locked into place without fear of over-tightening. They are, however, theoretically less durable than the screw type, since they can suffer more extensively from an impact when they're in the open position.

In my personal experience, however, I've put this type of joint lock through the ringer on a single monopod for nearly a decade, and I've never had a locking tab break on me. The cheaper models might cut corners here, and that could come back to bite you, but if you spend a little extra, this snap type should last for years.

Strength In Carbon

Photographers have utilized anything and everything they could get their hands on to stabilize their images since the birth of the art form in the early 19th century. It was especially important in those days as exposures took so much longer. More often than not, photographers in those days employed tripods, though as exposure times decreased toward the end of the century, monopods became feasible alternatives to their bulkier cousins.

At this point in the history of photographic accessories, neither tripods nor monopods could effectively collapse, so a monopod proved all the more mobile than a tripod for capturing important events from more angles.

Collapsible models of tripods and monopods really came into their own in the 50s and 60s, as advances in metallurgy following the second world war allowed for more complex threading, piping, and locking designs.

Still, the tripods and monopods of those days were predominantly made of steel, and their weight was a problem. In the late 60s, however, advances in the promise of carbon fiber led the Japanese government to subsidize its refinement and manufacture, with companies like Toray and Mistubishi pouring resources into the field.

As Japan's economy grew to unprecedented heights in the 80s and 90s, massive growth in the photographic sector coincided with breakthroughs in carbon fiber quality to bring the market its most durable, lightest-weight tripods and monopods. Even as Japan's economy has normalized, its dominance in all things photographic, and the global dominance of carbon fiber in photographic stability, resounds.

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Last updated on January 19, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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